Jump Start # 2058
Hebrews 11:5 “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.”
Enoch is a mystery to us. He lived long ago. Found in Genesis five, the chapter of ancestors, in which every one listed lived and died, except Enoch. Our verse today loves the expression taken. Three times in one sentence we are told that God took Enoch.
Phillip’s version uses the word “promoted.” Enoch was promoted by God. In the business world, promotions are good. A new salary. A new office. A new job description. New responsibilities. Here, promoted from this world to God’s home.
The American Standard version uses the expression “translated.” God translated Enoch. We understand translations. It’s taking something from one language and putting it in another language. God took Enoch from here to there. He was translated.
There are two expressions in our verse that are interesting.
First, Enoch was not found. It sounds as if others did not know what happened to him. They didn’t know that God had taken him. One day, Enoch simply didn’t come home. I expect some went looking for him. They looked and looked and couldn’t find him. They may have concluded that something bad happened to him. Maybe an accident. Maybe he fell. They simply couldn’t find him.
Second, he was pleasing to God. This is the reason that God took him. We are not told how God took him. We are not told what it felt like for Enoch. He didn’t see death, is what the text tells us. Maybe, as Paul told the Corinthians, in a twinkling of an eye, the mortal put on immortality. Maybe.
But as mysterious as all of this is to us, there remains one clear picture that we cannot miss. Enoch pleased the Lord. In Genesis, he walked with the Lord. In Jude, he prophesied about the ungodly deeds done in his day. Enoch was different than others. His choices, his attitudes, his language, his heart, all reflected a love for the Lord.
Years after Enoch, we read about Lot. Peter tells us that Lot’s soul was tormented day after day by what he saw and heard. Noah is another example. The world he lived in thought evil continually. Yet, Noah was blameless.
Our times are wicked. Evil abounds. Wrong is everywhere. People seem to have their minds stuck in a sewer. Violence is exploding. Yet these grand O.T. examples remind us that in the midst of all this, you and I can continue to walk with the Lord and please God. We don’t have to be a part of the downstream flow of society. We, by our choices, can do what is right. Now, in doing this, we find as many of these O.T. heroes found, there are some things that come with that.
First, we are noticed. People see that you don’t participate in the smut, in the drinking, in the gossip, in the trash talking that they thrive in every day. You don’t smile at their obscene jokes. You don’t engage with them in talking negative about others. You don’t use the cruel words that they use. You don’t cuss. You don’t blow up when things don’t go your way. You are different and for that you are noticed.
Some will try to watch what they say around you, because they respect you. Others, don’t care. Some may think you are being too good and even uppity because you won’t engage in the mud with them. They may whisper when you are around. They conversation may suddenly go silent when you walk in a room. It’s uncomfortable and awkward, but you smile, act friendly and continue to walk with the Lord.
Second, we are not included. There are things that take place, such as parties and social gatherings, that you will not be invited to. You are excluded because of your walk with the Lord. “We don’t want them here to spoil all the fun,” is what others may think about you. So, you hear about gatherings in which you are not included. It may hurt your feelings, but in the big picture, you avoided having your soul tormented by witnessing more crude and ungodly behavior. Your presence brings guilt. You are a reminder of goodness and godliness and they don’t want that reminder. There will be some that you simply cannot get close to because of who you are. They don’t want to be friends with you and they won’t be. You smile. You act friendly and you continue to walk with the Lord.
Third, we are put in situations which challenges what we believe. Corporate expectations may include things that bother your conscience. Recognizing things that God considers sinful, as acceptable, normal and the standard, pushes and tests what we believe. Some will challenge you because you do walk with the Lord. Some may look for any reason to report you because you do walk with the Lord. They may try to discredit you. They may try to undermine what you are doing. The tension and the pressure may be so great that you have to look for another job. Some would like that. Your absence and a replacement that better fits their ungodly thinking would make them all rejoice.
Enoch walked with God. Lot’s soul was tormented every day. Noah was blameless. More than heroes from long ago, living examples of men who pleased the Lord in very ungodly times. You can do it as well. It comes with consequences. It may be hard. Find refuge in your family and in your fellowship. Say a prayer before you enter the classroom at college or the office at work. Remember who you are. Think before you speak. Trust in the Lord. Someday all of this will be over. Keep your eyes open. There may be a person in the midst of all that muck and mire that is wanting to be pulled out but they don’t know how. You may just be that person to help them.
The Lord translated Enoch. Someday, the Lord will call us home. There with Enoch, Noah and Lot, we can rejoice and praise the Lord. Home, safe and sound. That’s what we are after. That’s what keeps us going.